Business Secretary Vince Cable attempted a dodgy conjuring trick today and produced a tiny mouse of an industrial strategy for crisis-ridden Britain.
On the very same day, a committee of MPs slammed the government for the failure of its Regional Growth Fund to create more than a few thousand jobs.
Government spin-doctors had spent days hyping up Mr Cable's industrial strategy launch.
In the event, the hapless Lib Dem was unable to pull more than a few small morsels out of the hat as he presented his ideas in a speech at Imperial College London.
He declared with a flourish that he was presenting "the contours of the industrial strategy that we will work with industry to round out in the months ahead."
Mr Cable produced a specific proposal for a government-backed business bank to help companies invest in expansion.
But then he added that "the scale and modus operandi of this institution are still under discussion."
Gateshead Labour MP Ian Mearns warned that for all Mr Cable's talk, the government's vicious austerity programme was "strangling demand out of the economy."
Mr Mearns said the "rearranging of the deckchairs" by Mr Cable would produce no significant change in confidence or investment.
Public accounts committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said it was "nothing short of scandalous that so few projects funded by the Regional Growth Fund have actually got off the ground."
Ms Hodge was speaking after her cross-party committee produced a damning report revealing that only £60 million had reached front-line projects, despite £1.4 billion apparently being allocated.
Among Mr Cable's ideas were developing a series of "collaborative sector strategies" in advanced manufacturing, including aerospace, automotive industry and life sciences.
Nearly 11,000 apprenticeships and 49,000 training opportunities would be created under the first round of an existing £250m scheme to boost vocational training.
The government had made available £180m to boost commercialisation of new ideas in life sciences.
And a "more intelligent partnership" should be developed with businesses to improve government procurement.
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